Harvest Worship - Sunday 19th September

Opening words: John 1:3

"Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made."


Hymn 732 We plough the fields and scatter

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccVEjKFkAV4

Prayers:


Creator God,

We thank you for the gift that is creation –

For the beauty of the earth and how you have created us to care for it.

We are sorry for the ways we have neglected this,

Help us to work together to repair the world.

Lord of the Harvest, hear our prayers.


Generous God,

We thank you for the gift of food –

For how it brings us together and nourishes us.

We pray for those without, whose harvests and store cupboards are empty,

Help us work together to share the world’s resources so that everyone can be fed.

Lord of the Harvest, hear our prayers.


Sustaining God,

We thank you for the gift of those who farm and prepare our food –

For their labour, their innovation and their care.

We pray that everyone will be able to work with dignity, that there will be no more poverty,

Help us work together to call for just and fair systems of pay and working conditions.

Lord of the Harvest, hear our prayers.


All-powerful God,

We thank you for the gift that is creation –

For the beauty of the Earth and how you have created us to care for it.

We are sorry for the ways we have neglected this,

Help us to work together to repair the world.

Lord of the Harvest, hear our prayers.

Amen.


Lord’s Prayer


Hymn 106 Come Ye thankful people come

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imK0j7eBJsc


Bible Readings

Psalm 104:1-23 Matthew 22:37-40


Hymn 23 All things bright and beautiful

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HyWkC64X08


Comment (Taken from Tearfund resources for Harvest 2021)


This talk is in four distinct parts: God’s love for his creation, how we’ve damaged creation, the hope we find in Jesus, and an invitation to respond.


Gods Love for His creation

At harvest, we make time to be thankful for all that God provides us with through the natural world.

For many of us in the UK, it can be hard to link the food we eat with the land around us – more often than not, we link our food with the local supermarket. For people like Loyara, though – a farmer in Burkina Faso – the surrounding land is everything.

The psalmist in our reading today also clearly has a huge appreciation and understanding of creation: where the birds nest, where the mountain goats live, the skill of a lion as it hunts its prey, and the vast array of creatures living in the water.

As a result of how nature fits together, the psalmist is inspired to worship the creator God. And, in verse 31 of the psalm, we read that God too rejoices in his creation – in all things being as they were meant to be. The beauty and variety of all he’s made brings God joy!

But it’s not just that nature is glorious to behold. Verses 10-18 of Psalm 104 describe how God provides through nature – for plants, for animals, and for humankind. Verses 13 and 14 declare that he ‘waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work. He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate—bringing forth food from the earth’.

God thinks so much of his creation that he even became a part of it when he sent his Son to earth in human form. During his time on earth, Jesus immersed himself in creation – using it to illustrate God’s kingdom (Matthew 13:3-9, Luke 12:24), benefitting from its provision (John 21:5-9) and living and teaching within it, including from mountains, shorelines and lakes.

Nature is designed to work in harmony – land and water, earth and sky, humans and animals – all have their part to play in the natural order of things. And all is held together by a creator God who is happy with the world he has created.


How we’ve damaged creation, and how that is impacting people in poverty

But we don’t have to look very hard at the world today to see that this perfect balance that God created is out of kilter. Too often, the land isn’t satisfied but is parched or flooded. Grass is sparse and dried out, and plants do not grow.

Rather than taking care of the earth, as God instructs us in Genesis 2:15, the way we live, work and consume has pushed creation to breaking point.

Whether it’s plastic pollution littering the seas and the poorest communities, or species going extinct at record rates, or the climate crisis causing more droughts, floods and storms, we’ve damaged this beautiful world which is a gift from God. We’re feeling some of the effects in the UK, but it’s people living in poverty – who have done the least to cause the problems – who are being hit the hardest.


Loyara, a mother from Burkina Faso land barren so suffering from climate crisis
Tearfund appeal for Burkina Faso

In the Bible, Jesus tells us the most important commandments are to love God and to love our neighbours (Matthew 22:37-40). Tackling the climate crisis is vital to both of these – honouring God by protecting his creation and loving our global neighbours who are hit first and worst by what is now a climate emergency.


The hope we find in Jesus

Colossians 1:19–20 says: ‘For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him [Jesus], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.’

Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, all things can be made new; everything sin has broken and corrupted is being restored and reconciled to God. That includes us as well as the rest of creation.

What’s more, we’re invited to be a part of God’s ministry of reconciliation – inviting people to be reconciled to God through Jesus, but also reconciling people to the creation we’ve been given to care for, and seeing it restored. This is the fullness of the gospel.


Video to look at https://vimeo.com/451780056/841556a0a7


An invitation to respond

So how can we respond?

Standing up for justice, being careful how we live and what we use and what we throw away.

By giving our money to support those who do not live in the prosperity that we live in.

Our response is summed up in the words of our next hymn.

Amen


Hymn 806 Beauty for brokenness